“ ‘And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us’ ” (Luke 11: 4).
As I have said elsewhere on this website, forgiveness is a personal matter between abuse victims and their God. Urging forgiveness on victims prematurely ignores the gravity of their trauma, and the depravity of the sins committed against them.
This amounts to a further violation. Victims will necessarily feel that Christians are siding with the predator…even condoning the abuse. Shockingly, in some cases Christians have been guilty of this.
Witness the Catholic Church sex scandal. This was, at best, a product of poor judgment, and a distorted view of Scripture. At worst, it was a cold and calculated attempt to avoid corporate responsibility, while facilitating the most heinous of crimes.
Either way, church hierarchy applied precisely the same rationale to young abuse victims, as the high priest, Caiaphas, did to Christ: “ ‘…[I]t is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’ ” (John 11: 50).
To be clear, forgiveness is not a “warm and cozy” feeling, on the part of victims. It is a deliberate decision by victims to leave the harm inflicted on them behind, and instead move on with their lives.
Significantly, genuine forgiveness can provide victims a release from their past which nothing else can. The link to the predator is severed. The hold the predator has had over victims is broken. More than that, through God’s grace, victims are set free to heal.
Forgiveness is not inconsistent with victims’ rights. A victim may decide no longer to expend emotional energy focusing on his/her loss. This does not preclude criminal prosecution of the predator for the crimes s/he committed.
Criminal liability and lifelong monitoring, when imposed, are consequences of the predator’s own actions. This is entirely in accord with Scripture. Society must take necessary steps to protect its most vulnerable members.
A few final words:
Christians genuinely interested in being supportive to abuse victims should better educate themselves, both on Scripture and abuse, and should pray fervently for compassion, which – sad to say – many lack.
God is waiting with open arms for abuse victims. They are more precious to Him than diamonds or gold. In fact, His Son Jesus died for them. It is this truth which Christians should strive to convey.
Originally posted 4/12/15
Wishing You All A Merry Christmas!
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com
Christians speak regularly about the “sin nature” of mankind, the inclination by human beings to do wrong, as illustrated by wars and crime.
The following verses on the topic are typical:
“…[T]he imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen. 8:21).
“ ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…’” (Jer. 17:9).
“ ‘Then I will…take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in My statutes…’ ” (Ezek. 11: 19-20).
“ ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ ” (Matt. 15: 19).
If anyone has experienced that sin nature, abuse victims have. Victims, however, have been more sinned against than sinning.
Unfortunately, the continuous emphasis on sin is likely to sound like condemnation to victims, when what they need is love, encouragement, and hope.
Christians should remember that abuse leaves behind deep scars. Victims of abuse may struggle with gender identification, sexual addiction or dysfunction, self-neglect, anxiety, depression, dissociation and related amnesia, drug or alcohol addiction, cutting, anorexia, bulimia, binging, and other issues. The majority of prostitutes are thought to be runaways, with a history of abuse.
Dealing with major problems like these is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for the self-righteous. Merely living ordinary lives can take enormous effort and enormous courage by abuse victims. That victims, for the most part, accomplish this is amazing.
Victims should not be made a topic of gossip. Nor should they be subjected to snap judgments, whether about their morality or mental state.
Above all, victims should be reassured that they were not the guilty party in abuse; that, as children, they were wholly incapable of consent to whatever was done to them; and that God still loves them, despite all they have been through.
Originally posted 3/15/15
This series will continue next week with Humility v. Lack of Worth
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com
After Australia’s July 2020 weekend of ‘Black Lives Matter’, ABC’s Afternoon Briefing had Patricia Karvelas interviewing US Prof. Goff (sp.?). For many Survivours of Child Sexual Abuse, much of these debates have carried the same passion as what we’ve felt throughout our lives. Ignorance & turning attention away from are even spoken against in the bible. School lessons. Child care. Sports practice. School camps. A pattern forming…?
News of Jeffery Epstein also forms ‘front page news’, including parts of the British Royal Family, upper levels of US & International society. At the targeted end of this game are low income, low SES (socio economic status) population & young adults/teenagers. Suitably, Australia’s Judicial System has begun to publicly deal with more allegations following 2013-17 CARC. Highest of these has been George Pell. Sound familiar…?
From the topics presented since 2013, this RoyalCommBBC.blog has aimed to republish noteworthy journalism, factually-based info & ‘the other side of the coin’ POV. We don’t claim to be a Journalistic Reference to prove legal data; it isn’t to be used as an excuse or a bet; links can be arranged with suitable portals, where need be; as are related channels, following earlier BBC involvement of later ‘guilty’ Nudgee College staff. A later post will be arranged re: queries of Overlack. Seems too surreal…?
BLUE KNOT FOUNDATION FACT SHEET FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED CHILDHOOD TRAUMA (INCLUDING ABUSE)
1 Childhood trauma stems from overwhelming negative experiences in early life. It can take many forms (eg. sexual,emotional,physicalabuseandneglect).Itcanalso occur without abuse if early caregivers were unable to meet your emotional needs (e.g. because they had unresolved trauma histories themselves).
2 Unresolved childhood trauma negatively impacts 8 health and well-being in adulthood. It affects both emotional and physical health (the whole person’) and the full impacts may not become apparent until years later.
3 It is possible to heal from childhood trauma. Research shows that with the right support, even severe early life trauma can be resolved. It also shows that when an adult has resolved their childhood trauma, it benefits their children or the children they may later have. Children develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of childhood trauma. It is normal to want to feel better, and if you were traumatised as a child the need to escape’ feelings can be intense.
4 Effects of childhood trauma include anxiety, depression, health problems (emotional and physical), disconnection, isolation, confusion, being ‘spaced out’, and fear of intimacy and new experiences. There 10 is no one size fits all’, but reduced quality of life is a constant.
5 Survivors are often on ‘high alert’. Even minor stress can trigger ‘out of proportion’ responses. Your body continues to react as if you are still in danger, and this can be explained in terms of unresolved prior experience.
6 Survivors often struggle with shame and self-blame. But childhood trauma and its established effects are NOT your fault, even though you may feel otherwise (often because this is what you were encouraged to believe as a child when you were vulnerable and still developing).
7 Self-blame can be especially strong if you experienced any positive physical sensations (which is not an uncommon body response) in relation to abuse you have undergone. Physical reaction to sexual abuse does NOT mean desire for, or agreement to, it. Children cannot consent to, much less ‘cause’, sexual or other forms of abuse.
8 Children develop coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of childhood trauma. It is normal to want to feel better, and if you were traumatised as a child the need to `escape’ feelings can be intense.
9 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
10 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
11 Coping mechanisms develop for a reason, serve a purpose, and can be highly effective in the short term. But some methods of coping (e.g. excessive alcohol use) can be risky in themselves. Addictions (to food, sex, drugs), avoidance of contact with others (which reinforces isolation) and compulsive behaviours of various kinds (in attempts to run from the underlying problem which, because it is unaddressed, doesn’t go away) are all ways people try to cope.
Although the MeetUp Group ‘Brisbane Abuse Survivours Network’, now seems to have closed – we’re experiencing larger + wider impacts with this RCbbc Blog. The growth, interaction + time required by these RCbbc Blog pages continue to outweigh any more time + costs taken by running a MeetUp Group as well.
We’ve now achieved at least 1,124 Subscribers, the ongoing impact + support is filling in a much-needed gap. Particularly direct families continue to be a cause of many surviving-victims not coming forth, I’m now in a position that I’ve recently had a 3rd body start guiding one of my parents through my CSA mess. It’s not a solution, yet it does feel relieving to have an unresolved misunderstanding taken off my shoulders. Please seek help, through a Counsellor!
Secrecy has-does-will have a power over our lives. It always will, yet we each have that same control over it. This is where Predators/Abusers/Facilitators have taken advantage of their assumed targets, typically manipulating their unawareness of their own rights (maturity, trust + secrecy). ‘The Power of Secrets’ in PsychologyToday begins by stating that Secrets can divide people. “They deter relationships. And they freeze development on individuals.”
Power of Secrets contains titles of: HOW SECRETS SABOTAGE, SHATTERING THE TRIANGLE, ‘DON’T TELL ANYONE OUR BUSINESS’, BREAKING FAMILY RULES, ROOM FOR REHEARSAL, FROZEN FAMILIES + RESPECTING TRANSITION TIMES. So enthralling are these, I’ll try to repost the entire page ASAP.
From the book The Secret Life of Families by Evan IrabetBlack, Ph.D. Copyright 1998 by Evan Imber-Black. Reprinted by permission of Bantam Books, New York, New York. All rights reserved. AmazonSpringerkobo
PHOTO (COLOR): Secrets are kept or opened for many reasons, from self-serving abuses of power to the protection of others. (Unavailable, yet text provided)
PHOTOS (COLOR): Family secrets are destructive and all families have some secrets from the outside world. Resist the temptation to handle them at transition times such as weddings, graduations, and new beginnings. (Unavailable, yet text provided)
Anglican Church officials wrongly told a woman who was sexually abused more than 60 years ago they had to hold off resolving her complaint, then offered a payout and an apology if she agreed to a gag clause.
The church’s Brisbane diocese has admitted to again failing Beth Heinrich over her 1995 complaint, which culminated in then-governor-general Peter Hollingworth publicly blaming her for a priest sexually exploiting her as a 15-year-old.
Its apology for causing her “additional trauma and distress” through “unacceptable delays” came a day after the ABC questioned its latest missteps in the case, which led to Dr Hollingworth’s public downfall but still fuels calls for him to be stripped of millions of dollars of public benefits.
The diocese in January belatedly offered Ms Heinrich up to $30,000 for its mishandling of her complaint, which Dr Hollingworth dismissed repeatedly when he was archbishop of Brisbane.
Beth Heinrich pressed the Anglican Church in Brisbane for redress after former archbishop Peter Hollingworth stood by the priest who sexually abused her
The diocese said it could not resolve her complaint because it would “prejudice” another church investigation of Dr Hollingworth
Church investigators denied this and the diocese then offered Ms Heinrich a payout and an apology if she kept it confidential
The offer was a fraction of the $200,000 she sought — a figure she said was increased after independent legal advice and church officials in Melbourne advising that her original request for $50,000 was too little.
The Brisbane diocese also told her in January it was “happy to provide an apology” but this should be kept “confidential” until its Melbourne counterpart ended a separate investigation into whether Dr Hollingworth should be stripped of his Holy Orders.
Its request for secrecy contrasted with Dr Hollingworth’s widely publicised 2002 comments on ABC TV’s Australian Story program that it was “not sex abuse” by priest, and later bishop, Donald Shearman, but “rather the other way round”.
“It was devastating for me at the time [and] I’m still really angry about it because there’s been no ending to it,” Ms Heinrich told the ABC.
“[Dr Hollingworth] knew the true story but he chose to lie about me and victim blame.”
A church spokesman said: “The Brisbane diocese acknowledges there have been unacceptable delays in finalising a redress claim of Ms Beth Heinrich”.
“The diocese apologises that this has caused her additional trauma and distress,” the spokesman said.
‘Most extraordinary case’
Child protection expert and University of South Australia adjunct professor Chris Goddard said Ms Heinrich’s was “the most extraordinary case of so-called secondary abuse I have ever seen”.
He helped Ms Heinrich prepare her testimony to the royal commission into child sexual abuse, with a 300-page presentation involving about 70 documents.
“To my knowledge [Dr Hollingworth] has never publicly apologised for the public humiliation of Beth,” Professor Goddard said.
In 2005, the Bathurst Anglican diocese paid Ms Heinrich $100,000 over Mr Shearman’s abuse of her while running the church hostel where she was a school boarder in the 1950s.
Ms Heinrich said she decided to press a complaint over Brisbane diocese’s mishandling of the matter, after it advertised in a newspaper for survivors to come forward in the wake of the royal commission into child sex abuse in institutions.
In October 2017, the diocese told her it had “little option but to wait for the findings of the Melbourne investigation before [we] can advance and conclude the consideration of your complaints and claim”.
‘Happy to consider an apology’
It said any examination of her complaint “could not be safely concluded until the findings of the Melbourne committee are known, and may risk prejudicing the Melbourne investigation”.
However, the diocese changed its tune in August 2018 after Ms Heinrich questioned the delay.
It told her that it “might be possible to deal with your claim on a private and confidential basis without waiting for the outcome” from Melbourne.
It said the diocese was “happy to consider an apology” but it would be “better delivered” after Melbourne’s findings.
Any settlement would need to be “private and confidential” so as “not to prejudice” the other investigation, it said.
But Melbourne church officials contradicted this last November.
“I can confirm that any compensation or redress paid to you will not impact the investigation,” Kooyoora Ltd executive director Fiona Boyle said in a letter.
Emotional abuse is an underrated form of abuse, but no less damaging for that.
The warning signs of emotional abuse include the following :
A child who exhibits a lack of attachment to the parent.
A child who is delayed in physical or emotional development, unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.
A child who is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children) or inappropriately infantile (constantly rocking or head-banging, for example).
A child who exhibits behavioral extremes (acute passivity or serious aggression; demanding behavior or abject compliance).
A child who attempts suicide.
The parent who rejects his/her child will constantly blame, belittle, or berate that child. The parent unconcerned about his/her child’s well-being may refuse offers of help for that child’s school problems.
On the other hand, a parent can be so self-involved that his/her child becomes little more than a pawn for manipulation.
It’s the disorder that robs people of their ability to feel whole.
When it comes to the disorder that can splinter people into discrete and fractious personalities, it’s important to note that this complex disorder is not uncommon.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is often misdiagnosed. For the sufferer, the experience can be deeply confusing, with a distorted sense of self and long periods of time lost to dissociation.
Caused by childhood abuse, incest and neglect, the disorder often develops as a coping mechanism. It allows young kids to compartmentalize abuse so they can survive when caregivers or family members make them feel unsafe.
DID is described as a complex form of post-traumatic stress and dissociation, which causes a discontinuity in one’s self of self.
Professor Warwick Middleton is a leader in research and treatment on the disorder and has been working in the field for decades. Speaking to News.com.au, he recalls first writing a paper on the condition in 1991.
DID can be categorized as a developmental disorder, where a person’s personality fails to integrate as they develop.
It’s defined as an “identity disruption” and you may know it as “multiple personality disorder.” In some cultures, it may be identified as spiritual or demonic possession.
How do you identify dissociative identity disorder?
They have symptoms that you might have seen depicted in movies like “Sybil” or TV shows like “The United States of Tara.”
Sufferers of the disorder have a complex system of dissociation, which Middleton describes as “splitting off at different times into different identity states.”
“The individual might experience this as internal or external voices, which may argue and which may be associated with particular behaviors. Alternative handwritings. A whole spectrum of things,” he said.
What Middleton describes is a form of dissociation where the sufferer splits off into what appears to be a completely different “personalities.” Sufferers usually have at least two distinct personalities at some point in their life, some may have many more.
Middleton says that the majority of sufferers also fulfill criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and somatization, while many of them have eating disorders and social phobias.
“Typically they present in their thirties, having bounced around the system for quite a while,” he said. “Because they hear voices … they’re given antipsychotics. From our research, about 20 percent of them are diagnosed with bipolar disorder.”
“If you look a bit closer they don’t have bipolar. That was just someone identifying them switching between different personality states.”
Losing large periods of your life
People who suffer from DID often have trouble remembering things.
In the autobiographical memory of their life, there are gaps where they have no recollection of what happened or what they did — and not in a regularly reported way, like when you drive home and arrive at your door with little recall of your journey.
It’s about losing big parts of your life to your other “personalities” who take over, commandeering your consciousness. While it might sound like the stuff of movies, the disorder is very real.
From Middleton’s research, he suggests it occurs in about 1.1 percent of the adult population. He describes this as being a “relatively common” condition.
What are people with DID like?
“(People with DID) range in a spectrum — (there) are people who sort of live on the fringes of existence who are chronically mentally ill, bouncing around services to people who are very high achieving, who may work in mental health services themselves.”
Sufferers often report weeks or months of their life passing by them where they have no memory and feel no agency over what transpired in that period.”
In the early nineties, the disorder was not often diagnosed and hardly at all identified by mental health professionals. These days it is much more commonly diagnosed.
Treatment for the disorder
Middleton says his interest in the disorder developed because there was “very little clinical awareness” and it wasn’t a diagnosis routinely made.
The other problem was that the issue of family assault and “incest” wasn’t properly acknowledged within Australia, where he is based, at the time.
“We now know that incest is, unfortunately, very common,” Middleton said.
“Basically in every country in the world where systematic research is done into childhood trauma and the presence of dissociative disorders we get very similar patterns.”
He said with standard treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy, the outcomes are very poor for sufferers of this disorder.
Treatment options with good outcomes include phase-orientated treatment.
Middleton was the first person, along with his colleague Dr. Jeremy Butts to publish research linking childhood trauma with the presence of DID. This paper was published over 20 years ago in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
He’s been a long-term director of the Society for Trauma and Dissociation.
Their findings showed that across the world, almost all sufferers of DID had, during childhood, suffered from some form of abuse, be it physical, sexual or neglect.